It has been concerning to read various articles highlighting the devastating impact addiction to gambling on sport is having, particularly on young males. It has recently been World Suicide Prevention Day and I know the horrendous impact a gambling addiction can have on someone’s mental health, which can sadly lead to suicidal thoughts.
It can be difficult to avoid gambling due to the whole host of adverts out there on television and beyond. Incredibly, nine of the 20 football teams in the Premier League have a gambling company as a sponsor.
NHS England’s Simon Stevens has expressed his concerns regarding gambling and I would like to use my column to make you aware of the dangers of addiction and the various avenues of support available.
Sadly, being a compulsive gambler can harm your health, relationships and leave you in a serious amount of debt. Thankfully, there is evidence gambling can be treated in the same way as other addictions, with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) usually having the best results.
CBT is based on the concept your thoughts, feelings and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. If you’re interested in receiving CBT, I would recommend contacting GamCare on 0808 8020 133, who offer free information, support and therapy.
There are also a number of self-help tips I can share with you. Firstly, it is important to never view gambling as a way to make money, only as a bit of light-hearted fun. If you’re struggling to contain how much money you’re betting, perhaps it would be a good idea to leave your credit card behind and only carry a set amount of cash you’re willing to part with.
If you’re worried about your gambling, it is vital you don’t bottle your feelings up. Talk to someone you trust, which could be a family member, friend, or even your GP. Spending more time with family and friends who aren’t interested in betting can be very refreshing and help you get out of the habit.
If you’re feeling suicidal, you don’t need to struggle alone and there are a number of helplines you can ring. You can call Samaritans for free on 116 123 at any time from any place.
Remember, mental health support is available right now if you need it. You don’t have to suffer by yourself!